“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” Proverbs 18:24 (ESV)
I have been blessed beyond measure with an incredible group of friends. Anyone who has ever met me knows that I’m an extreme extrovert and even though I’ll probably forget your name and monopolize the conversation with stories or jokes, I won’t forget your face and we’ll be friends by the time we quit talking. I firmly believe that God blessed me with the ability to talk to people so that I can share His love with people I encounter by sheer happenstance.
Until college, I never had more than 25 people in my grade at school. Although I certainly had friends at school, most of my friends came from the game of baseball. I fell in love with baseball before I could talk and was hitting home runs in the den before I could walk. Fourteen years, countless games, some minor injuries, some scars, two state titles, and a lifetime of memories later, I took off my cleats for the last time in the dugout at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Alabama.
Two of my best friends on this Earth, guys I would take a bullet for in a heartbeat, I met through the game of baseball. Although I made countless great friendships through this game, these two stick out the most. One of them I met when I was four years old at a baseball camp at UNA, the other when his dad became the pastor at my church when we were five and even though we didn’t meet on the baseball field, we played against and with each other countless times through the years. These two guys are the main reasons that I chose to attend Shoals Christian with the goals of furthering our friendship on the baseball field and our brotherhood in Christ.
These two guys, along with the influence of many others, have helped make me into who I am today. We’ve laughed together, cried together, fought for each other, but most importantly loved each other with the brotherhood of Christ through all. These days “friend” is thrown around so loosely and surface based; however, to me, friends like these are the ones parents encourage their children to find. These guys are as much sons to my parents as I am and I know their parents feel the same way about me. The great theologian (or country singer, whichever you prefer) Luke Bryan wrote the song “Blood Brothers” about this very topic. He says:
“Blood Brothers, closer than the next of kin,
thick as thieves the best of friends,
take a bullet for each other.
Yeah brothers, a light that don’t come cheap
You fight, you cry, you lie, you bleed
And you lean on one another.”
Find friends that will sit in the woods with you in the freezing cold and laugh when you miss or help you drag a giant buck out of a creek. Find friends that will always build you up and encourage you in the blood of Christ. Find friends that will hold you accountable. Most importantly, find friends that will love you unconditionally and lead you to the foot of the cross in everything. Find brothers like mine.
Love you guys.